Dear Dr. Graham:

How do I know if God will really forgive me? I’ve lived kind of a rough life, but I know I need God, and I need Him to forgive me. But how can I be sure He really will?

— J.W.

Dear J.W.: Sin is a terrible reality — and one reason it’s so terrible is because it separates us from God. But sin is also terrible because it affects every one of us, no matter how good or bad we are. In other words, we are all guilty before God, and none of us deserves His forgiveness or salvation. As the Bible says, “There is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:12).

But does this mean our situation is hopeless? Does this mean God will never forgive us, and Heaven’s door is forever closed to us? No, it doesn’t — and the reason is because God has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. We can never cleanse ourselves of our sins, no matter how hard we try — but God has provided the way for us to be forgiven and cleansed!

That way is Jesus Christ. He was God in human flesh, and He came down from Heaven for one reason: to provide the way for us to be forgiven. He did this by becoming the final and complete sacrifice for our sins, through His death on the cross for us. He was without sin — but on the cross all our sins were transferred to Him, and He died in our place.

Now God offers us salvation as a free gift — free, because Jesus Christ has already paid for it. Don’t carry your burden of sin any longer, but turn to Christ and give your sins to Him. Because of Christ, the Bible says, “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14).